Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Day after Wilma Hit

[Hurricane Wilma October 25, 2005]

So, it's the first day after hurricane Wilma passed directly over me. It's a beautiful day today about 54° F this morning perfectly clear, no wind. Just another day in paradise.

Of course we've got our share of destruction around here, cars piled up like tinker toys. About 70% of the cars in the parking lot have windows blown out either by the wind itself or flying debris, and there was a lot of flying debris. My neighbor had a giant chunk of aluminum spear right through her hurricane shutters and land in the living room.

Some of the upper floors of my building seem to be blown out. Walls knocked down and such. But the building basically survived intact because the building mandates hurricane shutters for all apartments.

The neighboring buildings that don't mandate hurricane shutters appear to have much more damage.

During the storm, after one window blew out in my apartment, the floor to ceiling tempered glass patio windows began to separate from their aluminum framework by the force of the air pressure which was literally bowing them out about 4 inches letting the wind into the apartment. Luckily we have large vents on our terrace which allowed me to take the pressure off the patio windows. This equalized the aerodynamic pressure inside and outside of the apartment.

In these kinds of winds, a large building acts like a giant wing creating high and low pressure zones as the air moves around it.

When the wind direction changed, the air pressure from this aerodynamic effect shifted almost instantly, that's when most of the windows blew out or were sucked in by the air pressure, windows that were all behind closed shutters I might add. Without the shutters, everything in those apartments would have gone right out the window, much like neighboring buildings experienced.
11:10 a.m.

I just got back upstairs from grilling. Since we have no power and no way to keep meat fresh, it seemed like a good idea to take everything we had in the refrigerator and freezer and throw it on the grill. Nice breeze blowing now come up perfect sunshine in the low 60s. I wound up feeding most of the building staff and some of my neighbors hot dogs and hamburgers. Sirloin burgers wrapped in Virginia bacon actually, I was lucky to get one. The radio says that the local grocery stores are open, so hopefully we'll get some ice soon.

You really appreciate those 20th-century scientific advances like electricity, telephone, the Internet, cable, and HBO when you don't have them. I guess I'll be catching up on my reading, and save the battery time I have left in my computer for these installments. No one knows how long the power will be out, but the beach in Florida is where they usually restore the power first, because that's where the money is.

3:46 p.m.

No water or ice yet available in Broward County except for Fort Lauderdale, which made its own arrangements for ice and water distribution. Apparently this is a result of fueling problem with the trucks bringing the ice. There doesn't seem to be anyone able to pump fuel without electricity , you think they would of thought of that .

I'm sure everyone else out there has better information than I do, since all I can get is the local news and radio on portable battery equipment. But this looks like a screwup since they could have been delivering ice and water all day, most of the major thoroughfares have been cleared by now and there's traffic all over the streets here. The mayor of Broward looks rather hot under the collar overall this. She used the phrase, "Never trust our state again...."

98% of Broward County without power today. More than 3 million people without power in South Florida today.


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